Local Government Minister welcomes West Tamar city bid

Peter Gutwein
Peter Gutwein

The state government would have “no issues at all” with West Tamar trying to become a municipal area, says Local Government Minister Peter Gutwein. 

West Tamar councillor Peter Kearney will move a motion at Tuesday’s meeting requesting the Local Government Minister consider the council for city status.

Mr Gutwein said councils should look to take the next step when the time is right.

“I think it’s important for any local government area, when it reaches a certain scale, to put their hand up and have that aspiration,” he said.

“Obviously, there is a process to go through.

“We have already seen it in the South with Glenorchy and Clarence.

“All it does is give local governments a chance to take the next step.”

For an area to become a city, it must have population exceeding 20,000 for five years prior to the motion being moved, have at least 60 per cent of its population living in an urban area, and conduct an elector poll to determine whether the community supports the idea.

West Tamar satisfies two of the criteria, with Cr Kearney set to ask the council to hold an elector poll at the local government elections in October.

Much of municipality’s progress throughout the past 20 years was overseen by former mayor Barry Easther, who retired in 2014 after 31 years in local government. 

A former president of the Local Government Association of Tasmania, Mr Easther admitted he didn’t have a strong opinion on the motion, despite it being raised during his tenure.

“It’s obviously something Peter is passionate about,” he said. 

“I remember it was addressed once when I was mayor, but it obviously didn’t go through.

“West Tamar has always been a great area to live, and I don’t think becoming a city would change that.

“I think it’s a bit unusual it doesn’t have a CBD, but Legana could soon be able to fulfil that role.”

The meeting will be held on July 17 at the council chambers.